The 2019-20 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season has been more exciting and balanced than ever. It has also revived the lost art of outstanding individual scoring performances. For the first time in 15 years, there have been more than 10 times in which a player has reached the 30-point mark. Nine different players have done so. One must go back to the 2004-05 season to find as many 30-point performances in one season. Fourteen players reached the magic number that season; Charles Smith of Scavolini Pesaro did it four times and ended up winning the first-ever Alphonso Ford Top Scoring Trophy. Anthony Parker did so twice and was eventually chosen as the 2004-05 EuroLeague MVP.
Return to form
It's been an unprecedented scoring explosion that is reminiscent of the early years of the competition. EuroLeague players combined for 21 games with 30 or more points in the competition's original campaign, 2000-01. The record was set in the 2001-02 season with 37 such performances. There were 18 the next season, 24 in the 2003-04 campaign and 18 a year later. Things started to change in the 2005-06 season, in which only four players reached the 30-point mark and hit rock-bottom in 2010-11 when only two players - Keith Langford of performances of Khimki Moscow Region and Mirza Teletovic of Caja Laboral Vitoria - reached this achievement.
Multiple 30+ performances
So far this season, four players - Mike James of CSKA Moscow, Shane Larkin of Anadolu Efes Istanbul, Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region and Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul - have had multiple 30-point games. The last time that four players had more than one 30-point performance was in the 2003-04 season, when Arvudas Macijauskas of Tau Ceramica, Sarunas Jasikevicius of Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv, Milos Vujanic of Skipper Bologna, Maurice Evans of Benetton Basket and Lynn Greer of Idea Slask Wroclaw all managed to do so. Tyrese Rice and Ioannis Papapetrou of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens, Lorenzo Brown of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos Piraeus, Toko Shengelia of KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia Basket have also scored 30 or more points in a EuroLeague game this season.
A new record
With so many great scoring performances, it is no surprise that the all-time single-game scoring record fell this season. Larkin raised the record to 49 points by making 5 of 7 two-point shots, 10 of 12 three-pointers and 9 of 10 free throws against FC Bayern Munich on November 29, 2019. Four players - Kaspars Kambala, Alphonso Ford, Carlton Myers and Bobby Brown - shared the previous record with 41 points. Rice joined them by scoring 41 points against Olympiacos Piraeus on December 6, 2019 - eight days after Larkin set the new scoring record.
With three games of at least 30 points - including a career-high 39 points in Round 3, De Colo tied Ford atop the all-time standings, each with six such games. Shved, James and Larkin each have five EuroLeague games with at least 30 points, tying for third in this category with Marcus Brown, Panagiotis Liadelis and Milos Vujanic. Some 141 players have had at least one 30-point game in 20 years of Euroleague Basketball and only 40 players have had multiple games in this category.
A huge improvement
Over the previous 10 seasons, from 2009-10 until 2018-19, there were 65 games with players scoring 30+ points - or 6.5 on average per season. That sums up the main point; we are in the midst of a high-scoring EuroLeague season and the players are making the most of it. And the best part of the season is yet to arrive!